LIVE REVIEW: Bryan Adams, SSE Arena

As one of the world’s best-selling artists, a Bryan Adams concert comes with a great deal of expectation to say the least. With a musical career spanning the guts of thirty-six years and thirteen studio albums under his belt to show for it, Bryan Adams has very much earned his place in the hearts’ of his fans.

His most recent album, Get Up, released October 2015 received modest reviews and although this is his Get Up Tour, it’s easy to tell that there are very few in the audience who are there to hear his new material.

Adams doesn’t seem to have any delusions about his new album when compared to his expansive and beloved back-catalogue of hits. This is clear as he performs a gig jam-packed with his classic hits and an acceptable amount of catchy new songs thrown in too.

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Immediately energetic, he kicks off the night with his single “Do What Ya Gotta Do”, as mild apprehension fills the arena with fans wondering will the night be filled with new material after all. This fear is quickly dissipated with the ever so familiar opening riff from “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started”.

Age hasn’t done anything to sour Adams’s vocal talents nor his energy and enthusiasm for what he does. As he rolls out “Run To You”, his smooth vocals match expectations and beyond for an audience who have listened to this song countless times over the years.

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It’s clear Adams has no qualms about performing his hits in the way musicians who have a musical career as long and successful as his tend to. The ubiquity of his hits over the years has not made him recoil from them but rather embrace them as a seasoned musician who has enjoyed monumental success.

When the lights dim and the familiar piano opening for “Heaven” begins, the audience takes the lead vocals with overwhelming volume and enthusiasm as Adams’ stands, understandably amazed by the thousands of voices filling the arena.

Rolling out a guitar solo that progresses into a mellow freestyle, the talent of lead guitarist, Keith Scott manages to take the spotlight from Adams, which is no easy feat.

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Indeed, this wasn’t simply the Bryan Adams show. Introduced to Scott in the ’70’s the two have been playing together ever since and this long-term rapport is clear through the camaraderie they have together and with their fellow bandmates on-stage.

A particular highlight of the evening was the emotive rendition of “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” well known as the soundtrack for the movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

Declaring that he remembers performing it in Belfast “in ’91 or ’92… I don’t think any show has ever sung it as loud as Belfast” This was met, naturally, with a near-deafening response from his keen audience.

Adams, while a talented musician, also manages to balance this talent with an ability to engage with his audience. Searching for a “wild woman” in the crowd, who can dance, the excitement levels are taken up a notch as almost every female in the arena was screaming. After singling out his “wild woman” she’s put on the big screen to dance along to his performance of “If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good.”

Wrapping his set up with “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You” this is by no means the end of the night. Adams returns without his band for an intimate encore. “Into The Fire” a track from his first, self-titled album, is requested from a fan and it is clear the extent to which his music has stood the test of time. Having written the song at only the age of 18 and now performing it in a stadium at 56, his devotion to music and skill as a songwriter is striking at this particular point in the set.

Having worked through a mammoth set of 31 songs including his encore, Adams really knows how to treat his fans.

The passion for his craft has not waned throughout all his years working at it. Declaring how “The intangible thing called music has brought us all here tonight and I can’t thank you enough. Music is magic and what we did tonight is magic.” he leaves his audience awe-struck as he then dives into another early track “Straight From The Heart”

Closing an exhilarating night with his early track “Remember” he tells the already emotive audience that “Tonight, as I’m sitting in my hotel room, I’ll remember you.”

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